If you’re cruising the Mediterranean in the middle of summer and have enjoyed a busy day exploring the sights and scenery, there’s no better way to cool off than with a refreshing beer.
We’d argue that one of the best things about holidaying is trying to local food and drink – and beer is no exception! You’re in a foreign land, so look past the Newcastle Brown or John Smiths and treat yourself to a local Mediterranean beer!
Now here’s a question you might be asking yourself – just how good are the Mediterranean countries at brewing their own beers? Can the Med hold its own in the beer rankings? The answer is a resounding yes. Here are some of the best authentic and popular Mediterranean beers you’ll come across when cruising this wonderful part of the world.
When you arrive into Valletta, Malta, you’ll see bright yellow signs advertising Cisk around every corner – it’s certainly the beer of choice in here and it’s a little bit different to anything else you’ll sample when taking a Mediterranean cruise. Back when Malta first starting brewing its own beers (and back when the brewery was still known by its original name – the Malta Export Brewery), they hadn’t really found their own unique style, so these Maltese beers are very heavily influenced by the beers of Munich, with a crisp and refreshing taste and simple flavours. One thing to remember is that Cisk is actually pronounced ‘chisk’, so if you’ve been getting blank stares from the bartender, then that’s why!
Also Try: Have you got a sweet tooth? Then you can’t miss out on Farson’s Lacto Stout. It’s brewed by the same company that produce Cisk, yet it’s blended with milk to give a very sweet and creamy taste that’s almost like chocolate and caramel rolled into one.
The version of Estrella you come across will depend on where in Spain your Mediterranean cruise takes you. Head to the north of the country and Estrella Damm will be the beer of choice, whereas you’re more likely to encounter Estrella de Levante in southern areas.
You’ll find the former in supermarkets, bars and restaurants throughout the UK. Identify this Mediterranean beer by its red label – Estrella de Levante comes in dark green. No matter which one you choose, you’re guaranteed a beer that will provide some much-needed respite from the Spanish sun. Salute!
If you’re interested in learning more about Estrella Damm, you can book yourself a tour. More details are available here.
Also Try: Moritz, another beer brewed right here in the centre of Barcelona that has a sort of grainy taste and aroma. The Moritz factory is also open to visitors and includes tastings, a bar and tapas restaurant, and even a gift shop.
Sardinia might be a holidaymaker’s paradise, but it’s also home to a pretty great Mediterranean beer – Ichnusa. It’s not an easy word to get your tongue around, but the good news is that it’s so readily available across the island that a simple point and nod should do the trick.
There are currently four beers available: Ichnusa, Non-Filtrata (unfiltered), Ichusa Cruda (raw) and the light Birra Limone (lemon-flavoured). Crisp and refreshing, we’d recommend starting with the original (and we’d argue, best) Ichnusa. It’s got a very faint aroma and is wonderfully smooth – the perfect antidote to those scorching Sardinia summers.
Also Try: Pedra Ruja brewed by Birra Sardegna is also worth a taste. The red/amber ale is light on the tongue and easy to drink, with slight citrus notes and a hint of caramel.
Peroni is Italy’s best-loved beer and despite the brewing company having been founded in Vigevano in Northern Italy, today it’s brewed right in the heart of Rome. Known for its pale colour, corn-like aromas and bitter finish, Peroni also has a bit of a spicy kick afterwards. It might not be the most unusual beer on our list, but hey, sometimes a hint of familiarity can do us good, right?
Also Try: Italy has a huge craft beer scene that is well worth exploring. Almond 22 from the Abruzzo region is perhaps the closest option to an Eastern European honey beer that you’ll find in the Mediterranean – it’s sweet, soft, and its aroma is amazing.